The best chefs know that the secret to truly delicious food lies in quality ingredients, careful preparations, and perhaps most importantly, the perfect blend of spices and flavors. The right spices are essential to a meal’s success, but did you know that some spices have incredible health benefits are well? Fitness Magazine reports that many spices have more antioxidant power than some superstar fruits and vegetables. Here are five spices and flavors that are not only winners when it comes to taste, but go the extra distance toward health:
- Cinnamon – This festive spice is the star of snicker-doodles, pumpkin pie, and apple cider, and can brighten up anything from toast to oatmeal. Though it is often included in sweet, rich foods, cinnamon may actually help weight loss. Cinnamon can level out blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol, plus it can be used as a flavorful substitute for sugar.
- Ginger – Ginger is an important ingredient in Asian cooking, and has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginger causes a warming sensation in the body, so it is often used to improve circulation and blood flow. Also, ginger can be used to treat motion sickness and nausea.
- Paprika – This lovely red pepper is often used to enhance the color of food, but there is more to paprika than just a pretty color. Like other peppers, paprika contains capsaicin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemical that makes these foods taste hot.
- Oregano – This pizza sauce-enhancing spice holds the special distinction of possessing the highest antioxidant activity of all the spices, clocking in at over four times the amount that blueberries have. Oregano also contains antibacterial agents that may stave off infection.
- Garlic – Garlic may be most famous for warding off vampires and causing strong-smelling breath, but garlic’s real worth lies in its health effects. Garlic boosts the body’s levels of hydrogen sulfide, a naturally occurring substance that increases blood flow by relaxing blood vessels and acts as an antioxidant. This increase in hydrogen sulfide has linked garlic with protecting against colon, breast, and prostate cancer. It may even protect the heart.
- “7 Miracle Spices With Huge Health Benefits (and Big Flavor)”, Treehugger by Discovery Channel
- “Spice of Life: Health Benefits of Spices and Herbs”, Fitness Magazine
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